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197607 [2016/09/01 00:06]
tyreless
197607 [2016/09/01 00:12]
tyreless
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 The interior of the caves are covered with paintings depicting both myth and legend along with real life. Unfortunately,​ few of the murals have survived intact, and at present the Indian Government is underwriting an ambitious project to copy the cave paintings exactly as they were. For this reason, some of the best caves were closed and we were unable to see them. The interior of the caves are covered with paintings depicting both myth and legend along with real life. Unfortunately,​ few of the murals have survived intact, and at present the Indian Government is underwriting an ambitious project to copy the cave paintings exactly as they were. For this reason, some of the best caves were closed and we were unable to see them.
  
-We spent the day at Ajanta, returning to Aurangabad that evening. The next morning we took another bus to Ellora. Here there are 34 cave temples built from the 7th to the 13th centuries A.D. We had all heard about Ellora, but were really not prepared for what we saw. Each temple is carved out of what once was a solid mass of rock, without scaffolding,​ starting at the top and chiseling ​downwards. The difficulties must have been monumental. Yet, each figure is perfectly proportioned,​ and in some cases the carvings are as intricate as lace. The huge elephants carved out of rock are standing near three-storied temples.+We spent the day at Ajanta, returning to Aurangabad that evening. The next morning we took another bus to Ellora. Here there are 34 cave temples built from the 7th to the 13th centuries A.D. We had all heard about Ellora, but were really not prepared for what we saw. Each temple is carved out of what once was a solid mass of rock, without scaffolding,​ starting at the top and chiselling ​downwards. The difficulties must have been monumental. Yet, each figure is perfectly proportioned,​ and in some cases the carvings are as intricate as lace. The huge elephants carved out of rock are standing near three-storied temples.
  
 All of us were overwhelmed and spent the day exploring them. All of us were overwhelmed and spent the day exploring them.
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 In Egypt lies the Everest of River Drinkers. The Nile starts in two places - Uganda and Ethiopia. Both Blue and White Nile pass thousands of towns until they converge at Khartoum. Then through the Sudan, down the cataracts until Egypt is reached. Lake Nasser extends from the border to Luxor where the famous dam is. At Luxor I shall start my story. In Egypt lies the Everest of River Drinkers. The Nile starts in two places - Uganda and Ethiopia. Both Blue and White Nile pass thousands of towns until they converge at Khartoum. Then through the Sudan, down the cataracts until Egypt is reached. Lake Nasser extends from the border to Luxor where the famous dam is. At Luxor I shall start my story.
  
-I was the only passenger of European complexion on the 3rd class section, which happens to be a long punt that is pulled by a boat complete with engine and houses the first class riff-raff. Even though I was first aboard the punt when it arrived all the crew sold spaces to the passengers. This they'd do by spreading out carpets. There was a space about one foot wide with no carpet on it and my sleeping bag was there in 20 seconds, and I lay down immediately. Fait accomplit. I wasn't very popular. The train arrived from Cairo snd the punt was overloaded by the wildest looking mob in history. My section of the punt was then occupied by a family of three camel traders, who would place their own carpets down and await the trip. They were quite remarkable. It turned out that they had sold 1000 camels which they had driven down from the Sudan to Cairo or somewhere. I asked how much camels were worth in Cairo. £100 each it seems. Times 1000 = a small fortune. They were armed and as well had curved knives on their upper arms under their robes. They had no fear from me, so they became quite friendly. I gave them my eyedrops, but the oldest started to drink it. I told him to lay down and I would drop in the liquid. He was very frightened and I think he thought I was going to kill him. I was down on the carpet on my back and he was shouting in Arabic and jumping on my stomach. His sons pulled him off me and I gazed at the ruins passing by and brushed off this incident.+I was the only passenger of European complexion on the 3rd class section, which happens to be a long punt that is pulled by a boat complete with engine and houses the first class riff-raff. Even though I was first aboard the punt when it arrived all the crew sold spaces to the passengers. This they'd do by spreading out carpets. There was a space about one foot wide with no carpet on it and my sleeping bag was there in 20 seconds, and I lay down immediately. Fait accomplit. I wasn't very popular. The train arrived from Cairo and the punt was overloaded by the wildest looking mob in history. My section of the punt was then occupied by a family of three camel traders, who would place their own carpets down and await the trip. They were quite remarkable. It turned out that they had sold 1000 camels which they had driven down from the Sudan to Cairo or somewhere. I asked how much camels were worth in Cairo. £100 each it seems. Times 1000 = a small fortune. They were armed and as well had curved knives on their upper arms under their robes. They had no fear from me, so they became quite friendly. I gave them my eyedrops, but the oldest started to drink it. I told him to lay down and I would drop in the liquid. He was very frightened and I think he thought I was going to kill him. I was down on the carpet on my back and he was shouting in Arabic and jumping on my stomach. His sons pulled him off me and I gazed at the ruins passing by and brushed off this incident.
  
 Abu Simbel ahead, and the boat pulled in and I was the only 3rd class person off. There were two New Zealanders, retired, from 1st class plus four or five Nubian types. Abu Simbel was swarming with Swedish engineers with 2 ft. long syringes that they were injecting into the porous stone that makes up this rock cut temple. (If you cast your mind back, this was the temple that was to have been jacked up to avoid being flooded. It finally was cut up and rebuilt with U.N. help on a cliff above its old site.) Myself and Kiwis wandered around with these Swedes as our guides and we all had a wonderful time. Going out into the sunshine, we were flabbergasted. The boat was gone. No toot, no nothing. There going upstream and rounding the bend was our transport. Abu Simbel ahead, and the boat pulled in and I was the only 3rd class person off. There were two New Zealanders, retired, from 1st class plus four or five Nubian types. Abu Simbel was swarming with Swedish engineers with 2 ft. long syringes that they were injecting into the porous stone that makes up this rock cut temple. (If you cast your mind back, this was the temple that was to have been jacked up to avoid being flooded. It finally was cut up and rebuilt with U.N. help on a cliff above its old site.) Myself and Kiwis wandered around with these Swedes as our guides and we all had a wonderful time. Going out into the sunshine, we were flabbergasted. The boat was gone. No toot, no nothing. There going upstream and rounding the bend was our transport.
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 Last Xmas with Helen Gray and Frank Taeker we were in beautiful down-town Benares. The Holy Ganges flows through to the Bay of Bengal all the way from Tibet. Early one morning we all walked down to the steps near the tilted submerged temple. Let me describe the surroundings. Behind us were 100 yards of steps climbing up to the base of the palaces. These buildings have a remarkable drainage and sewerage works. Simply it works like this - channel onto the top step and it will cascade down to the river. While we were watching along came a lad with a flat stone under his arm and a parcel under the other. It turned out to be a young goat that may have been killed for a sacrifice that very morning. He tied the stone to the animal and heaved it into the river only 20 ft. or so from where the pilgrims were immersed in their ablutions and prayers. Upstream 100 yards or so the burning ghats were blazing merrily and bones and ash were being plopped into the murky waters. Maybe you think that the ashes purify the water? That would be cancelled out by the ruling that all small-pox victims along with lunatics and babies are thrown in without burning or any preparation at all, apart from prayers. Last Xmas with Helen Gray and Frank Taeker we were in beautiful down-town Benares. The Holy Ganges flows through to the Bay of Bengal all the way from Tibet. Early one morning we all walked down to the steps near the tilted submerged temple. Let me describe the surroundings. Behind us were 100 yards of steps climbing up to the base of the palaces. These buildings have a remarkable drainage and sewerage works. Simply it works like this - channel onto the top step and it will cascade down to the river. While we were watching along came a lad with a flat stone under his arm and a parcel under the other. It turned out to be a young goat that may have been killed for a sacrifice that very morning. He tied the stone to the animal and heaved it into the river only 20 ft. or so from where the pilgrims were immersed in their ablutions and prayers. Upstream 100 yards or so the burning ghats were blazing merrily and bones and ash were being plopped into the murky waters. Maybe you think that the ashes purify the water? That would be cancelled out by the ruling that all small-pox victims along with lunatics and babies are thrown in without burning or any preparation at all, apart from prayers.
  
-We wera assured by these very same devout Hindus that here in Benares a miracle takes place. (Benares is the centre of the Hindu cosmos. When the world will came to an end, Benares will miss out. Good for an investment, eh?) The River Ganges at this very spot where we stood, becomes pure. It has been proven beyond all doubt. The scientists at the Universities;​ Government analysis has verified it, and so have thousands of ordinary Indians who have been drinking it for centuries or millenia. They take it home in bottles for their loved ones and for their local temples and shrines.+We were assured by these very same devout Hindus that here in Benares a miracle takes place. (Benares is the centre of the Hindu cosmos. When the world will came to an end, Benares will miss out. Good for an investment, eh?) The River Ganges at this very spot where we stood, becomes pure. It has been proven beyond all doubt. The scientists at the Universities;​ Government analysis has verified it, and so have thousands of ordinary Indians who have been drinking it for centuries or millenia. They take it home in bottles for their loved ones and for their local temples and shrines.
  
 Of course I didn't drink it. Not enough dedication or drive. Certainly my hobby is now in tatters; River Collecting is all over for good. There must be other interesting things to collect! No doubt there are other readers of this magazine who collect strange things, and are bursting to tell. I'm sure the Editor would like to hear from you; this magazine will publish anything. Of course I didn't drink it. Not enough dedication or drive. Certainly my hobby is now in tatters; River Collecting is all over for good. There must be other interesting things to collect! No doubt there are other readers of this magazine who collect strange things, and are bursting to tell. I'm sure the Editor would like to hear from you; this magazine will publish anything.
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 All in all it was a rather hurried business and we could have done with at least another hour to have really enjoyed the pleasant walking conditions, weather and scenery. All in all it was a rather hurried business and we could have done with at least another hour to have really enjoyed the pleasant walking conditions, weather and scenery.
  
-I was amazed that no one had become lost on the walking part of the trip, quite a lot of people were observed scrambling out of the bush in many different places and some were even caught ​disapearing ​along wrong tracks and ridges.+I was amazed that no one had become lost on the walking part of the trip, quite a lot of people were observed scrambling out of the bush in many different places and some were even caught ​disappearing ​along wrong tracks and ridges.
  
 An added bonus for the finish of the trip was a visit to the '​Burnett'​s'​ cacti establishment where an unbelievable variety of cacti are on display, (from memory, I think there were over 12,000 different varieties on display). Quite a few people indulged in modest purchases of rare and exotic cacti in small square pots. This was a tremendous finish to what I felt had turned out to be a very exciting and pleasant day. An added bonus for the finish of the trip was a visit to the '​Burnett'​s'​ cacti establishment where an unbelievable variety of cacti are on display, (from memory, I think there were over 12,000 different varieties on display). Quite a few people indulged in modest purchases of rare and exotic cacti in small square pots. This was a tremendous finish to what I felt had turned out to be a very exciting and pleasant day.
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 Language of course has to be coped with wherever you are, and when you get your songs and (psalms) sams (numbers) mixed, then you're in trouble. Or perhaps it's the kais and KAIS chicken and egg depending on pitch - so you order an egg and instead get a confounded chicken. Language of course has to be coped with wherever you are, and when you get your songs and (psalms) sams (numbers) mixed, then you're in trouble. Or perhaps it's the kais and KAIS chicken and egg depending on pitch - so you order an egg and instead get a confounded chicken.
  
-And when brousing ​through ​Theives ​Market it could take an immense summoning of word power to prevent being whisked off by the Grrr! Wow!! luscious (nice) young ladies leaning on the parking meters. Lin was no end of assistance. I have since had my arm replaced in its socket. Couldn'​t even get a look at the Sins of Bangkok - tops off in 10 seconds bottoms off in 15 - two of the local gendarmes wandered in, not without warning. There was a flashing of lights, dressed ladies replaced the undressed, so the tops remained covered and bottoms unrevealled.+And when browsing ​through ​Thieves ​Market it could take an immense summoning of word power to prevent being whisked off by the Grrr! Wow!! luscious (nice) young ladies leaning on the parking meters. Lin was no end of assistance. I have since had my arm replaced in its socket. Couldn'​t even get a look at the Sins of Bangkok - tops off in 10 seconds bottoms off in 15 - two of the local gendarmes wandered in, not without warning. There was a flashing of lights, dressed ladies replaced the undressed, so the tops remained covered and bottoms unrevealled.
  
 The public transport system works well. No bus in Bangkok is ever full - there is always room for one or more passengers. They hang out of the doors like a human bunch of grapes with hangers-on on the hangers-on. If you survive all this and make the maze of the bus routes work for you, then you can travel anywhere in the city for 75 setung (1,000 = $1). But don't become too blase. Just to confuse you, now and again a bus appears where it shouldn'​t or doesn'​t appear where it should. The public transport system works well. No bus in Bangkok is ever full - there is always room for one or more passengers. They hang out of the doors like a human bunch of grapes with hangers-on on the hangers-on. If you survive all this and make the maze of the bus routes work for you, then you can travel anywhere in the city for 75 setung (1,000 = $1). But don't become too blase. Just to confuse you, now and again a bus appears where it shouldn'​t or doesn'​t appear where it should.
  
-Eventually we arrived in Kathmandu. Once again the battle to get to Kala Patter ​was mounted. You quickly learned to duck for cover across the Lamjura Pass at 11,​580'​. There were plenty of people willing to offer you a flight - at a price. Some even offered to let us charter a whole plane. Thinking we were all set to fly out for $U.S.35 we fronted up in the afternoon to confirm. "So sorry, no flight, they flying in rice." Fair enough, rice is more important than bodies. Next time, "Yes we have flight. Be at airport 7.00 a.m." Whee!! we're off. Don't count your chickens, there'​s many a slip. Airport, usual Kathmandu fog unusually heavy. 11.00 a.m. no plane, no flight, back to K'du.+Eventually we arrived in Kathmandu. Once again the battle to get to Kala Pattar ​was mounted. You quickly learned to duck for cover across the Lamjura Pass at 11,​580'​. There were plenty of people willing to offer you a flight - at a price. Some even offered to let us charter a whole plane. Thinking we were all set to fly out for $U.S.35 we fronted up in the afternoon to confirm. "So sorry, no flight, they flying in rice." Fair enough, rice is more important than bodies. Next time, "Yes we have flight. Be at airport 7.00 a.m." Whee!! we're off. Don't count your chickens, there'​s many a slip. Airport, usual Kathmandu fog unusually heavy. 11.00 a.m. no plane, no flight, back to K'du.
  
 "Yes, we have flight,"​ (we've heard that before). "Be at airport"​ (we've heard that before). Sorry, I forgot to mention the snow and the weather and - Whee!! we're off at last! Remember the chickens. Single engined, turboprop Pilatus Porter (Swiss), 5 passengers and luggage. A "fair dinkum"​ air ride, cheek to jowl with the mountains, but all ended in frustration. Clouds blew in just as we approached the strip. So back to K'du. "Yes, we have flight,"​ (we've heard that before). "Be at airport"​ (we've heard that before). Sorry, I forgot to mention the snow and the weather and - Whee!! we're off at last! Remember the chickens. Single engined, turboprop Pilatus Porter (Swiss), 5 passengers and luggage. A "fair dinkum"​ air ride, cheek to jowl with the mountains, but all ended in frustration. Clouds blew in just as we approached the strip. So back to K'du.
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 Now I am not young anymore and my bladder is the same age, well worn but worn well, but aged. During the night, pitch black inside the house, likewise inside the head, my bladder gives me the message. Not wishing to disappoint anyone, let alone myself, I must of necessity, exit. Get up, put on boots, struggle with unfamiliar door bars, lift leg, duck head, stretch over bench, miss table - quietly, quietly and hang there teetering acrobatically,​ pointed toe flattering about trying to find something solid on which to lodge. At last you get through the door, cross the room, along the landing - that was easy - miss the sharp right, backtrack slowly, feel for each step and gingerly lower yourself down, all of this accomplished gropingly like a blind man, for such you are. On bottom, heap of unknown substance on left. But this is easy, there'​s a full moon and light is filtering through chinks in the door. Now I am not young anymore and my bladder is the same age, well worn but worn well, but aged. During the night, pitch black inside the house, likewise inside the head, my bladder gives me the message. Not wishing to disappoint anyone, let alone myself, I must of necessity, exit. Get up, put on boots, struggle with unfamiliar door bars, lift leg, duck head, stretch over bench, miss table - quietly, quietly and hang there teetering acrobatically,​ pointed toe flattering about trying to find something solid on which to lodge. At last you get through the door, cross the room, along the landing - that was easy - miss the sharp right, backtrack slowly, feel for each step and gingerly lower yourself down, all of this accomplished gropingly like a blind man, for such you are. On bottom, heap of unknown substance on left. But this is easy, there'​s a full moon and light is filtering through chinks in the door.
  
-Outside the air is sharp-edgea cold, the gems of the heavens picked out on a midnight blue and the shimmering, dancing sheen of the descending moonbeams lights this wonderland with a pearly luminance. Return to bed eventually after more acrobatics, only to find in the morning that our hosts had thoughtfully provided a torch at hand near the bed for just such an emergency, but neglected to inform us.+Outside the air is sharp-edged cold, the gems of the heavens picked out on a midnight blue and the shimmering, dancing sheen of the descending moonbeams lights this wonderland with a pearly luminance. Return to bed eventually after more acrobatics, only to find in the morning that our hosts had thoughtfully provided a torch at hand near the bed for just such an emergency, but neglected to inform us.
  
 Engaging porters can be quite engaging, time consuming, infuriating and costly. Since not even the best of us can tell what the effect of altitude will be it was decided to hire 2 porters, mine at lest till I found out how I was going to perform. Like the "new chums" we were, we hired one for Rs.20 and one for 15 plus food - a big mistake as we were to find out. Engaging porters can be quite engaging, time consuming, infuriating and costly. Since not even the best of us can tell what the effect of altitude will be it was decided to hire 2 porters, mine at lest till I found out how I was going to perform. Like the "new chums" we were, we hired one for Rs.20 and one for 15 plus food - a big mistake as we were to find out.
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 The sheer joy of "​hitting the track" was almost overwhelming. The poetry of the landscape even at this stage put a spring in your step. There was relief at leaving Kathmandu and getting your teeth into the real meat and this whetted our adventurous appetites - we were off to Kala Pattar! Clear skies, crisp air, light snow underfoot and bright sunshine made the climb to Namche Bazaar (although I took my pack halfway up) a pleasureable experience. The added bonus of a couple of glimpses of Sagaramatha simply reinforced our joi de vivre. The sheer joy of "​hitting the track" was almost overwhelming. The poetry of the landscape even at this stage put a spring in your step. There was relief at leaving Kathmandu and getting your teeth into the real meat and this whetted our adventurous appetites - we were off to Kala Pattar! Clear skies, crisp air, light snow underfoot and bright sunshine made the climb to Namche Bazaar (although I took my pack halfway up) a pleasureable experience. The added bonus of a couple of glimpses of Sagaramatha simply reinforced our joi de vivre.
  
-I have never been a cow's best friend, nor would I say I was enamoured of the type of animal these hill people use as beasts of burden. On the contrary I have never been agin 'em, I haven'​t taken an active part in antibull demonstrations,​ nor waved flags at such saying "Down with Bull" - I hold the degree B.(0xom).(Batchelor ​of Oxometry), but notwithstanding these undoubtedly worthy qualities one animal I sidestepped lightly (or so I thought) had the Obvious intention of making a eunuch of me, coming close to doing so. It's hard to find words of soothing English and a tone to match to use to a Sherpa-speaking buffalo when its evil brown eyes are staring at you, set in a head to which is attached two feet of sharp horn, one on each side.+I have never been a cow's best friend, nor would I say I was enamoured of the type of animal these hill people use as beasts of burden. On the contrary I have never been agin 'em, I haven'​t taken an active part in antibull demonstrations,​ nor waved flags at such saying "Down with Bull" - I hold the degree B.(0xom).(Bachelor ​of Oxometry), but notwithstanding these undoubtedly worthy qualities one animal I sidestepped lightly (or so I thought) had the Obvious intention of making a eunuch of me, coming close to doing so. It's hard to find words of soothing English and a tone to match to use to a Sherpa-speaking buffalo when its evil brown eyes are staring at you, set in a head to which is attached two feet of sharp horn, one on each side.
  
 Two thousand feet to Namche Bazaar soon went underboot, we turned a corner and there it was, the largest Sherpa village, with its rows and rows of fawn brown stone buildings, snow-capped peaks dominating the horizon. There we found traces of the Calnans, they had passed through the checkpost the day before. Two thousand feet to Namche Bazaar soon went underboot, we turned a corner and there it was, the largest Sherpa village, with its rows and rows of fawn brown stone buildings, snow-capped peaks dominating the horizon. There we found traces of the Calnans, they had passed through the checkpost the day before.
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 I paid off my porter - it cost me of course - I had decided to go it alone and decision was taken to press on to Tenghoche. Laughing at altitude the party was wheeling along in fine fashion. But the altitude demon of the Himalayas, the real yeti, bared his teeth. An hour and a half from Teng. I thought I'd exchanged my hikeboots with a deepsea diver, my pack for a bag of corn and my lungs for bellows. Glad was I to see the gate of the monastry and gladder still to throw off my pack and sit down. I paid off my porter - it cost me of course - I had decided to go it alone and decision was taken to press on to Tenghoche. Laughing at altitude the party was wheeling along in fine fashion. But the altitude demon of the Himalayas, the real yeti, bared his teeth. An hour and a half from Teng. I thought I'd exchanged my hikeboots with a deepsea diver, my pack for a bag of corn and my lungs for bellows. Glad was I to see the gate of the monastry and gladder still to throw off my pack and sit down.
  
-That greybearded,​ billowy, down-jacketed,​ shadowy figure in the corner was somewhat familiar - "​Hello,​ Gordon!"​ Sharp handclasp and a thump on the baek and we had caught up with the Calnans. We caught up on all the Calnans had done to date, theirs and our trials and tribulations. Heard their plans and noted with regret we would not be able to "​catch"​ them - they would always be at least one day ahead.+That greybearded,​ billowy, down-jacketed,​ shadowy figure in the corner was somewhat familiar - "​Hello,​ Gordon!"​ Sharp handclasp and a thump on the back and we had caught up with the Calnans. We caught up on all the Calnans had done to date, theirs and our trials and tribulations. Heard their plans and noted with regret we would not be able to "​catch"​ them - they would always be at least one day ahead.
  
 Washing - simple matter. Washing machine, soap powder, a couple of rinses and hang it out. Eliminate the machine, take the source of the water 400 yds. away - downhill, and add 12" or so of snow, then lower the temperature minus something °C, and you can appreciate part of the dilemma. Having done your washing, try to get it dry - ice evaporates with difficulty. Heavens! Clouds have blown up, get the washing. What you get is not what you expect. Instead of cold, wet, clammy flexible stuff you wonder what the hell you're going to do with these icecold, plywood cut-outs. In sunlight inside the house at Pangboche they refused to thaw. After having been thawed and part dried by the fire, damp tracksuits to go to bed in at -10°C can be uncomfortable!! Washing - simple matter. Washing machine, soap powder, a couple of rinses and hang it out. Eliminate the machine, take the source of the water 400 yds. away - downhill, and add 12" or so of snow, then lower the temperature minus something °C, and you can appreciate part of the dilemma. Having done your washing, try to get it dry - ice evaporates with difficulty. Heavens! Clouds have blown up, get the washing. What you get is not what you expect. Instead of cold, wet, clammy flexible stuff you wonder what the hell you're going to do with these icecold, plywood cut-outs. In sunlight inside the house at Pangboche they refused to thaw. After having been thawed and part dried by the fire, damp tracksuits to go to bed in at -10°C can be uncomfortable!!
197607.txt · Last modified: 2016/09/02 00:21 by tyreless